Islamabad-The Islamabad High Court yesterday accepted government’s appeal against the verdict of a single bench against suspended additional district and sessions judge Raja Khurram and his wife in Tayyaba torture case and increased their sentence to three years.

A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miagul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the verdict which it had reserved after hearing arguments of all parties. Besides accepting government’s appeal, the IHC dual bench also dismissed an Intra Court Appeal of the suspended judge and his wife against their conviction by the single bench.

The bench in its 46-page detailed judgment noted, “In the instant case, Tayyaba Bibi was a victim of the worst form of wilful neglect and ill treatment. As a child she was forced to endure inhuman behaviour and ill treatment at the hands of adults who owed her a duty of care. From being exploited for the gain of Rs. 18000/- by her father, trafficked and forced to work in the most dangerous conditions, to being battered, beaten, burnt and then hidden to escape from being stigmatized in society, this is a classic case of manifesting the criminal conduct and ensuing consequences contemplated under section 328 A of the PPC. As discussed above, the Appellants, having left Tayyaba Bibi alone in the house and exposed to the cold weather in the evening of 26.12.2016 stands proved beyond any doubt.”

The verdict said that keeping in view the above principles and the facts and circumstances of the case, we are satisfied that there is no mitigating factor which would call for handing down the lesser sentence. The Appellants are not worthy of any sympathy because the ill treatment and neglect was willful and cannot be justified on any ground whatsoever. They were aware and they deliberately and consciously made an innocent and helpless child suffer tremendously.

The dual bench held in its judgment, “For what has been discussed above the petition filed by the State seeking leave is converted into an appeal and allowed. We, therefore, uphold the conviction of Raja Khurram Ali Khan and Ms Maheen Zafar under section 328 A and enhance the sentence to simple imprisonment of three years each along with payment of fine of Rs.50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand). In case of default in payment of fine, the defaulter shall undergo simple imprisonment for a period of two months in addition to the sentence. They are also convicted under section 201 of the PPC and sentenced to simple imprisonment of six months each. We further convict Maheen Zafar under sections 337 A(i) and 337 F(i) of PPC. There can be no compensation in monetary terms for the anguish suffered by the victim, an innocent, helpless and vulnerable child, but we feel that an amount of Rs. 500,000/- (Rs five hundred thousand only) may be a reasonable symbolic payment as ‘daman’ to Tayyaba Bibi as compensation for the agony which she had to suffer. We, therefore, hold Maheen Zafar liable for payment of daman under sections 337 A(i) and 337 F (i) of PPC. The payment shall be made to Tayyaba Bibi in lump sum and recovered in the manner prescribed under section 337 Y of PPC. The sentences will run concurrently.”

It added that the appeal preferred by Raja Khurram Ali Khan and Maheen Zafar having been found without merit is hereby dismissed. Their bail bonds are cancelled and they are directed to be forthwith arrested.

The court also directed to Inspector General of Police, Islamabad Capital Territory that therefore, it expected to probe the role of SHO Khalid Mehmood Awan, particularly regarding the making of the video placed on record. The Inspector General is also expected to take urgent and appropriate measures to ensure that professional officers, specially trained to deal with victims who are children, are entrusted with cases relating to them.

The petition was moved by Advocate General Islamabad while Raja Khurram suspended additional district and sessions judge and his wife Maheen Zafar were cited as respondents. It was stated in the petition that during pendency of trial, the prosecution produced witnesses in support of version of the prosecution who all supported the version of complainant as well as the investigating officer.

It was adopted in the petition that prosecution has proved its case beyond the reasonable doubt. The statement of the minor Tayyaba Bibi and other witnesses established clearly that the accused persons used to beat up Tayyaba and abandoned her by failing to take care of her by providing food and proper clothing. It was argued that the medical report fully corroborated the ocular account that Tayyaba received injuries which securely falling under section 337-A(i) and 337-F(i) PPC fully corroborated by the medical evidence.

The petition maintained that a single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamir Farooq passed the judgment dated 17-4-18 after recording all the prosecution witnesses. It added that the said impugned judgment is absolutely illegal, unlawful and arbitrary without any legal, unlawful and arbitrary without any legal justification while the same is not sustainable in the eye of law

It was contended that the trial court has not applied it judicial mind, while passing the impugned order and ignored the proved evidence of the prosecution during the trial.

Petition said that the bench badly failed to evaluate the evidence adduced by the prosecution as medical report fully corroborate the ocular account that Tayyaba Bibi received injuries. “The trial court has also not taken into consideration the gravity of the offence, coupled with its importance,” the petition added.

According to the petition, the trial court has not exercised its direction judiciously and the reasons for acquittal of respondent recorded by the trial court in sections 342/506/201/337-A(i)/337-f(i) is not in accordance with law and the single bench has exercised its jurisdiction illegally and unlawfully.

In the light of the above submissions, it was prayed that that the said order passed by the IHC single bench may kindly be set aside in the best interest of justice and the respondents may kindly be convicted and awarded maximum punishment as the case in hand was proved against the respondents without any shadow of doubt.